AutoCAD 2011 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Creating quick plots


AutoCAD 2011 Essential Training

with Jeff Bartels

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Video: Creating quick plots

At some point in the design process, we'll need to create a hard copy of our work. Let's look at how we can create a quick print of our drawing for review purposes. On my screen, I have a drawing of a Split Rail Fence Detail. Let me mention that the units in this drawing are set to decimal inches. As you can see, the detail measures 18 inches wide by 14 inches tall. Now, I'd like to produce a hard copy of this drawing and I don't need this to be a formal plot with a Title Block and everything. I just want to put this drawing on paper so I can give it to a client for their review.
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  1. 2m 8s
    1. Welcome
      1m 29s
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 23m 33s
    1. Understanding model space
      3m 44s
    2. Accessing AutoCAD's tools
      3m 2s
    3. Leveraging dockable palettes
      3m 1s
    4. Monitoring the Status bar
      1m 28s
    5. Understanding the anatomy of a command
      2m 14s
    6. Customizing AutoCAD's preferences
      3m 13s
    7. Accessing help
      3m 38s
    8. Saving a workspace
      3m 13s
  3. 19m 42s
    1. Opening an AutoCAD drawing
      3m 2s
    2. Understanding mouse functions
      2m 44s
    3. Zooming, panning, and regenning
      4m 24s
    4. Working in a multiple-document environment
      2m 39s
    5. Saving your work
      2m 29s
    6. Saving time with templates
      4m 24s
  4. 14m 35s
    1. Constructing lines
      2m 20s
    2. Locking angles with the Ortho and Polar modes
      4m 49s
    3. Drawing circles
      4m 10s
    4. Activating the Heads-Up Display
      3m 16s
  5. 14m 48s
    1. Defining a unit of measure
      6m 28s
    2. Constructing geometry using architectural measurements
      4m 6s
    3. Working with metric units
      4m 14s
  6. 23m 45s
    1. Understanding the Cartesian coordinate system
      4m 53s
    2. Locking to geometry using object snaps
      7m 42s
    3. Automating object snap selection
      7m 26s
    4. Using temporary tracking to find points in space
      3m 44s
  7. 19m 30s
    1. Drawing rectangles
      4m 56s
    2. Drawing polygons
      3m 4s
    3. Creating an ellipse
      5m 9s
    4. Organizing with hatch patterns
      6m 21s
  8. 29m 46s
    1. Making geometric changes using the property changer
      3m 38s
    2. Moving and copying elements
      4m 28s
    3. Rotating elements
      3m 48s
    4. Trimming and extending geometry
      5m 10s
    5. Creating offsets
      6m 16s
    6. Erasing elements
      2m 46s
    7. Undoing and redoing actions
      3m 40s
  9. 11m 52s
    1. Selecting objects using windows
      3m 46s
    2. Adding and removing from selections
      3m 43s
    3. Using keyboard shortcuts
      4m 23s
  10. 51m 12s
    1. Creating fillets
      3m 52s
    2. Creating chamfers
      3m 51s
    3. Copying objects into a rotated pattern
      4m 20s
    4. Copying objects into a rectangular pattern
      4m 58s
    5. Stretching elements
      4m 4s
    6. Creating mirrored copies
      2m 12s
    7. Scaling elements
      5m 0s
    8. Leveraging grips
      7m 20s
    9. Exploding elements
      5m 47s
    10. Joining elements together
      3m 44s
    11. Editing hatch patterns
      6m 4s
  11. 32m 19s
    1. Understanding layers
      2m 43s
    2. Creating and adjusting layers
      7m 20s
    3. Using layers to organize a drawing
      9m 17s
    4. Changing popular settings using the layer control
      3m 30s
    5. Understanding the BYLAYER property
      3m 37s
    6. Restoring previous layer states
      3m 42s
    7. Using existing geometry to set the current layer
      2m 10s
  12. 37m 43s
    1. Creating single-line text
      3m 11s
    2. Justifying text
      5m 18s
    3. Controlling appearance using text styles
      6m 10s
    4. Annotating with multi-line text
      5m 10s
    5. Editing text
      4m 32s
    6. Creating bulleted and numbered lists
      3m 29s
    7. Incorporating symbols
      5m 28s
    8. Correcting spelling errors
      4m 25s
  13. 28m 37s
    1. Creating general dimensions
      4m 13s
    2. Creating continuous and baseline dimensions
      2m 13s
    3. Controlling appearance using dimension styles
      4m 57s
    4. Modifying dimensions
      6m 6s
    5. Creating multileaders
      2m 53s
    6. Controlling appearance using multileader styles
      3m 23s
    7. Modifying multileaders
      4m 52s
  14. 25m 19s
    1. Inserting blocks
      4m 34s
    2. Creating blocks
      6m 41s
    3. Leveraging blocks
      5m 39s
    4. Redefining blocks
      3m 1s
    5. Building a block library
      5m 24s
  15. 13m 50s
    1. Querying a drawing using rollover tooltips
      2m 9s
    2. Taking measurements using the Distance command
      3m 2s
    3. Modifying properties using the Quick Properties tool
      4m 25s
    4. Automating calculations using the Quick Calculator feature
      4m 14s
  16. 36m 6s
    1. Creating quick plots
      6m 4s
    2. Selecting a pen table
      5m 48s
    3. Choosing line weights
      4m 32s
    4. Creating a layout, pt. 1: Choosing a paper size
      2m 42s
    5. Creating a layout, pt. 2: Inserting a title block
      2m 29s
    6. Creating a layout, pt. 3: Cutting viewports
      6m 9s
    7. Reusing layouts
      4m 3s
    8. Organizing layouts
      4m 19s
  17. 16m 49s
    1. Using the Annotative property to automatically size text
      4m 13s
    2. Using the Annotative property to automatically size dimensions
      4m 34s
    3. Using the Annotative property to automatically size multileaders
      3m 58s
    4. Changing the scale assigned to annotations
      4m 4s
  18. 6m 56s
    1. Saving drawings to other formats
      2m 27s
    2. Plotting to the Design Web format
      2m 15s
    3. Plotting to PDF
      1m 20s
    4. Sending drawings via email
  19. 22s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course AutoCAD 2011 Essential Training
6h 48m Beginner Jul 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Join Jeff Bartels as he covers the most important features of this industry-standard drafting and design application in AutoCAD 2011 Essential Training. This course begins with a tour of AutoCAD's interface and the tools used to create basic shapes. It then focuses on the methods used to modify and refine geometry while emphasizing accuracy and good habits to build a solid design foundation. The course covers using layers, line types, and colors to organize a drawing file and explains how to efficiently annotate a design and prepare it for final output. Throughout the title, Jeff shares industry techniques used in production and reinforces concepts using practical examples. Exercise files are included with the course.

Topics include:
  • Understanding model space
  • Working in a multiple-document environment
  • Organizing drawings using layers
  • Creating basic geometry
  • Configuring units for architectural, civil, or metric work
  • Incorporating blocks (symbols) into a working file
  • Maintaining accuracy with coordinates and snaps
  • Creating annotations that automatically size themselves
  • Moving and copying elements
  • Transferring data between drawings
  • Preparing standardized layouts with title blocks
  • Sharing drawings
Jeff Bartels

Creating quick plots

At some point in the design process, we'll need to create a hard copy of our work. Let's look at how we can create a quick print of our drawing for review purposes. On my screen, I have a drawing of a Split Rail Fence Detail. Let me mention that the units in this drawing are set to decimal inches. As you can see, the detail measures 18 inches wide by 14 inches tall. Now, I'd like to produce a hard copy of this drawing and I don't need this to be a formal plot with a Title Block and everything. I just want to put this drawing on paper so I can give it to a client for their review.

To do that, I'll move up to the Quick Access Toolbar and I'll launch the Plot command. This brings up the Plot Dialog Box. And first of all, if you have any questions about Plotting, you can use this hyperlink and AutoCAD will walk you through the plotting process. Likewise, if you have any questions about Plot Settings, simply hover over the Setting and AutoCAD will give you a more detailed description. Let's start out by selecting a printer. I'm going to open up the Printer Name fly-out and let's take a look at these printers at the top of the list.

These represent System Printers that are connected to my machine or visible on my network. Generally speaking, these are the same printers that you'd see when printing from a program like Microsoft Word. Now each person's system is different. So the list of printers that you see on my screen probably will now match yours. Let's look at these printers at the bottom of the list. Notice they have a different icon. These represent virtual printers that are installed with AutoCAD 2011. Now since I don't have a physical printer connected to my computer, I'm going to use the DWG To PDF Virtual Printer.

I'd like you to select any printer connected to your machine that will print to a letter size, physical piece of paper. Next, let's look at Paper Size. I want to print this to a Letter Size Sheet, otherwise known as ANSI A. It measures 8.5 by 11 inches. If I click this fly-out, you can see that I have several other paper choices. Let me mention that this list will change depending on the printer that you choose. You'll only see Paper Sizes that work with your selected printer. So, I'm going to leave this set to ANSI A. On your system, you may have to select a letter.

Now, let's talk about Plot Area. This is where I tell AutoCAD, how much of the drawing I'd like to print. There's a few ways I can do this. I'm going to click this fly-out and I'll select Window. And then I'll click a point in the upper left, and then I'll come down and click a point in the lower right. Essentially, I'm using this rectangle to define my Plot Boundary. Now, let's talk about Plot Offset, where do I want my drawing on the paper. I'm going to select center of the plot and when I do, watch this little preview.

Notice, AutoCAD centers the drawing on the sheet. As far as this preview is concerned, the large rectangle represents my paper boundary and the hatched rectangle represents the size of my drawing. Next, we'll talk about Plot Scale. Right now, this is set to Fit to Paper, and this is probably the worst choice that you can make. Normally, we want to print our drawings to a measurable scale, so I'm going to turn this off. Then I'll open up the Scale list and notice that I have several of the standard engineering and mechanical scales at the top of the Menu.

And down at the bottom, I have several architectural scales. If this drawing was set for architectural units, I'd be using these scales. Let's try and print this drawing at a scale of one-to-one. And notice, based on the preview, this red rectangle shows me that the drawing is larger then my piece of paper. And that stands to reason, since the drawing measures 18 X 14 Inches. Let's try and print the drawing at half scale or one-to-two.

Based on the preview, looks like this will work. If you'd like to create your own custom Scales, you can use these settings right here. If I wanted to print this at a scale of one-to-three for instance, I'd change this value to 3, I'll press Tab to accept that. Essentially what this means is, one printed inch equals three units in Model Space. And since my Model Space units are inches, this drawing will plot at one-third of its normal size. I'm going to set this back to half scale, I'll do that by changing this number to 2 and I'll press Tab.

Then I'll come down and click Preview. And as you can see, I have a representation of my printed sheet. Now, this Plot Preview works just like Model Space. I can use my scroll wheel to zoom-in or pan around the drawing. If I get a little closer, you can even see the Pen Weights on my lines. Now, there's only one problem. Everything is wanting to plot using the Layer Color. Let's address that issue. I'm going to X to close this preview and then I'll click this More Than button to expand the Plot Dialog Box to give me access to the additional settings.

I will then click the Plot style table fly-out and I'm going to select some pens. I'll select the monochrome pen table and then I'll click Yes. We'll talk about the concept of Pen Tables in much more detail a little bit later. I'm going to select Preview again, and notice that my Plot Preview looks more like what you'd expect. At this point, I'm ready to create my print, so I'm going to close the preview, and I'll click OK. Now, if you just plotted your drawing to your printer, your paper is probably already coming out.

Since I'm plotting mine to a PDF, I have to give my plot file a name. I'm going to save my PDF on the Desktop and I'll call it split rail detail, and I'll click Save. The image that you see on screen is an example of my final plot. If your drawing doesn't require the formality of a Title Block, plotting a window from Model Space is a great way to produce a hard copy of your design.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about AutoCAD 2011 Essential Training .

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Q: Despite following the tutorials, I am having trouble in AutoCAD Architecture 2011. I cannot copy basic line drawings of simple architecture from one file to another. I tile two AutoCAD documents open simultaneously and click on a geometry, let go, click again and hold and try to drag to the second document, but to no avail. What could be causing the problem?
A: There are a few possible solutions. At the command line, type "PICKFIRST" and press Enter. Make sure this variable is set to 1. If the value is set to 0 instead of 1, this would result in the problem described. Having PICKFIRST set to 1 (normally the default setting for "vanilla" AutoCAD) allows you to select an object first, and then launch an editing command (like Move or Rotate or Erase). Thus, you can work in both directions. Launch the Editing command first and then select objects, or visa versa. 
If PICKFIRST is not the issue, the problem might be something native to AutoCAD for Architecture, as there are some differences between that version and plain AutoCAD. Don't forget, you can also move geometry from one drawing to another by using Copy/Paste. Simply select your geometry and right-click, select copy, then click in your other drawing, right-click, and select Paste. Note that the Copy/Paste options are also available on the Home tab of the Ribbon. Copy/Paste should work regardless of your PICKFIRST setting.
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